The Great Hurricane of 1933

By | Aug 21, 2013

1933 had a very active summer for hurricanes.  By mid-August there had already been 7 recorded storms with one of them turning into a hurricane.  Beginning on August 17th a storm was detected northeast of the Leeward Islands.  When the center of the storm made landfall of the United States over Norfolk, Virginia as a Category 2 Hurricane.

Hurricanes were not given names prior to 1950 and this storm is commonly referred to as the Chesapeake-Potomac Hurricane. It was most severe Atlantic hurricane to hit the East Coast since 1821 and caused $27.2 million dollars in 1933 dollars ($368.4 million 2005) of damage and left 18-30 fatalities.

In Ocean City Maryland the town’s boardwalk as whole blocks were demolished with the town being flooded. Rail and road links to the mainland were broken. The railroad bridge was never replaced. Damage was estimated at $7.5 million in today’s dollars.

Before 1933 there was a move to cut an path across the Assateague Peninsula to the Sinepuxent Bay. The storm created what is now called the inlet at Ocean City, Maryland and turned the peninsula into Assateague Island.

With the help of Maryland’s US Senator Millard E. Tydings, Maryland was awarded funding to finish the job that the storm began to stabilize the new formed inlet before drifting sands would close it.

In 2003 Hurricane Isabel took a very similar path as the 1933 Chesapeake-Potomac Hurricane. Between 1933 and 2003, no other Hurricanes was as severe to Virginia as those.


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